HTML and CSS Reference
browser, he could be seeing a few extra niceties. Nothing appears broken to him, and the way in which he is interact-
ing with your web page isn't affected.
There is also another technique similar to this known as progressive enhancement , but what's the difference? Al-
though graceful degradation starts with modern browsers in mind first and then provides workarounds for older
browsers later, progressive enhancement does the opposite: it starts with an older browser and then later adds new
features for modern browsers.
Which approach should you use? With all the work being done to push the web forward, it would be a shame for that
to go to waste. By using graceful degradation, you are putting the future of the web first but making sure there is
support for the part of the web that is yet to catch up, too.
In the case of Internet Explorer 6, you may decide to just ignore it completely, simply because it's such an old and
troublesome browser to provide fixes for. Rather than spending x number of hours fixing it, in Chapter 15, you'll ap-
ply basic CSS to Internet Explorer 6, which still makes the content of the web page perfectly accessible, it just won't
be styled as much. This saves you work (and if you're creating a web page for a client, it saves money), but the user
can still see all the information on the page because, after all, CSS is just presentation.
Of course, if you're creating web pages for a paying client, now or in the future, you would need to discuss browser
support. By analyzing the latest usage statistics for browsers, as well as the client's existing statistics on their own
website (should they already have one), you can determine what browsers your client's users are using to view the
site and aim to support those browsers with the site you're creating.
Throughout CSS3 Foundations , I advise you when a feature isn't available in an older browser, and you learn to test
and examine alternatives for these browsers in Chapter 15.
Tools for Building and Styling the Modern Web
As the web has grown, so too has the number of tools available to build it. You can easily become overwhelmed by
choice, but you should remember that, at its core, the web is just text. To start building a web page, you need only a
web browser and a text editor.
Tools range in price anywhere from completely free to several hundred dollars, but by no means are the most ex-
pensive ones necessarily the best. You can get started with some great tools having spent no money whatsoever.
Web Developer Tools
Each of the latest web browsers has its own version of web developer tools that make creating websites easier and
Web developer tools allow you to quickly look at HTML elements and the CSS applied to them. You can also make
live alterations to CSS within a browser's web developer tools, often a quicker way to experiment with styles. Figure
1-5 shows Google Chrome's web developer tools.
You use these tools later in the topic, but for now, you might want to familiarize yourself with opening them in your